Over the past year, our little 2NE1 maknae has shown how much she’s grown, both as an artist and as a woman. But before Minji hits her 19th birthday, we wanted to take a little walk down memory lane with a series of small write-ups on her predebut till now. Each day, there will be a new topic, so hopefully all Minji fans, whether old or new, can enjoy these articles, reminisce old things or learn new things, and join us in celebrating her 19th birthday this coming 1/18 :)
Predebut – The Dancing Machine To Be
There are people who are meant to be in the field they’re in, and our Gong Minji is one of them. Prior to her acceptance into YGE, this dancing machine was learning and showcasing her moves at Millyohrae Joy Dance Academy, a well-known dance school in Gwangju where Big Bang’s Seungri, Kara’s Hara and DBSK’s Yunho all attended. During her time there, she entered & won a number of dance competitions due to her amazing talent – talent that shone brightly even at her young age. It was during one of these recorded dance auditions that eventually let YG to scout this precocious sixth grader into YGE.
An early fan (who Minji still has never met) sent the above clip to YG, who saw the amazing talent she had and brought her into the YGE family. From power dancing to sexy moves, the eventual 2NE1 maknae had the promise of it all.
During her training years, this little dancer was extremely focused on being the best she could be. She even put together 10 commandments with which she lived by during her trainee years to keep herself focused. One line especially stood out – “Do your best rather than be the best” – which seems to be a mantra that Minji has stood by since predebut. And do her best she did, from exercising to improving her stamina to practicing and honing her dancing skills (including her popping moves to her sexy waves) – Minji made sure to put everything she had into every area she touched. And fans have been able to see her growth with each video and picture she posts (from fresh-faced dancing machine to sexy, confident minx). This 10 commandments of her is most definitely useful for all the current trainees out there, and perhaps, even applicable to Minji even today. Looking at this, it’s no wonder our Minji is who she is now. She’s had that discipline, passion and drive to succeed even back when she was still an elementary student.
With moves like these, how could anyone not be wowed? And through MinzyTV videos show, she’s continued to improve her dancing ways
This passion of hers was also evident in her singing, when it became apparent that dancing wasn’t her only calling. Minji’s rapping and singing was mesmerizing from the start, as can be seen through her rendition of Fergie’s “Here I Come” and her congratulations song at a wedding.
The maknae has been receiving many compliments on her improved vocals over the past year, but what everyone needs to know that even from the start, Minji’s flow and vocal projection belied how young she was. At times, even I forget that she was only 15 when she debuted.
Though behind that powerful voice of hers, there’s a story behind it. Did you know that Minji was once unconfident of her husky voice? When she had been in YGE for just 6 months, she actually had her voice landed in a difficult position. Because her voice was naturally very powerful sounding that there was only one or two songs that she couldn’t reach, Minji sang those songs till she hurt her throat. At that time, she wanted to give up, but she received medical attention, practiced speaking again, and was able to recover. Thank goodness for that. If she had given up, can you imagine not being able to hear this lil amazing songstress in 2NE1 songs or in her MinzyTV covers?
Aside from the professional training, Minji was a favorite trainee, but who could resist the adorable little girl with talent and personality to boot. From her selcas (which she has progressed to sel-vids in the past months), fans could see her baby-face shine, both in solo shots and with fellow trainees (including Sandara & CL). President YG even had a nickname for her (which he only reserves for a select few), which translates to “Brilliance” (and how fitting that is).
And each time a video or picture was released, the anticipation of Minji’s debut only got higher. Her dance practice picture with reknown dancer/choreographer Twitch got fans excited to see what dancing skills Minji learned and only built the expectation of seeing her perform live. And everyone fell more in love with her shy, slightly awkward smile when this clip was released.
One YG family member Minji was especially close with was G-Dragon. There was one picture that included a pair of sunglasses borrowed from G-Dragon (who is known for not sharing his clothes), and was often referred to as the child who G-Dragon adored more than Seugri (aka GD’s pet). Though this did bring about some debate by a small group of extreme fans (and even led to some antis – can you believe that!?), most fans thought their relationship was adorable (including me). And their closeness extended past the trainee years, as her interactions with him during 2NE1TV could attest to (ie G-Dragon ruffling her hair after 2NE1’s first Inki win & his teasing during a photoshoot). Who could resist their cute interactions, eh?
It seems fitting that Minji’s first “official” broadcast would be on Big Bang’s debut documentary, where our little maknae showed her shy self as she quickly tried to hide from the cameras. What a difference a few years makes, as can be seen from 2NE1TV J
Of course, this talent needed to be put before audiences, and the original plan was for Minji and then-trainee Maydoni to debut in Japan as a duo. As both were strong dancers and singers, this pair appeared to be a sure win (especially as Maydoni had been a highly anticipated YG trainee). However, when Maydoni left YGE, Minji’s fate was altered as she was placed into her destined (then un-named-group) – 2NE1. From her practice videos with CL and predebut 2NE1, the girls had chemistry from the start, which has only grown since. What Minji (soon to aka Minzy) would “officially” bring to the group was, of course, her killer dance moves, but also her amazingly strong stage presence and vocal abilities.
From her sharp moves to her personal flow, Minji’s dancing even during training showcased her budding stage presence and belied the fact that she was so much younger than the other girls
All the hard-work, all the training, all the self-discipline was worth it as Gong Minji was finally unleashed to the world in 2009 – first informally via a MV collab “Lollipop” with Big Bang on March 28, and officially with “Fire” on May 17. Who would ever be able to forget that debut stage on May 17th when Minji killed us all with her dance solo at the intro and her deathly, passionate-filled glare maintained throughout the entire performance.
Random Fact: This dance solo of hers was only taught to her by the choreographers just the day BEFORE their debut stage. That’s our Minji <3
Minji’s piercing stare at that stage seemed to have already entailed the promises of her bright future. It was as if she was warning everyone that she was about to unleash her power, and boy, did she unleash it since then. Where our eromaknae will go is undefined, and with her amazing foundation and determination, the possibilities & opportunities are truly endless.
So, after that whole journey down this particular section of the memory lane, we, EM writers have more in store for you the next coming days till 18th January. Do come back tomorrow to find out more about how our eromaknae is truly the YGE maknae & her relationships with the YGE family. Anticipate it Minjas! ^_^
And remember, it’s D-7 to Minzy’s 19th Birthday!!! We hope you have fun counting down with us to 18th January 2012!!
Article written by: EM Writers
Graphics and Pictures compiled by: EM Staff
All credits to youtube users for the respective videos